The League of Legends [official site] All-Star Event 2015 kicks off today in Los Angeles. Pip (me – why is this in the third person?) is on the scene already getting hype* but in case you were wondering what an All-Star is and which players are taking part, READ ON:
What is this All-Star?
The All-Star is kind of like the muck-up day of League of Legends' professional scene. While the regular season and Worlds are about proving your particular organisation/team is the best – VERY SRS BSNS – the All-Star is about showmanship and fan service. The players who compete have actually been selected by fans. It used to be part of a bigger event during the regular season but Riot separated out the more light-hearted stuff so it took place in the off-season. Players who get picked then get divided up into two teams – Fire and Ice – and the event generally features a lot of playful rivalry and in-jokes as well as skill showcases in things like 1v1 matches.
So it's a 1v1 thing? Like someone's built an event around "1V1 ME, BRO"?
Not exactly. There are a bunch of game modes, although the 1v1 stuff is a big part of the schedule. I'll explain the modes in a moment but first you should ask me about who is on team Fire and Team Ice.
Oh. Who is on Team Fire and Team Ice?
I'M SO GLAD YOU ASKED.
Team Fire is actually three teams made up from fan favourites from each of three regions – same for Team Ice. Fire comprises the LCK (Korea), the North American LCS and the LMS (Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau). Ice is the LPL (China), the European LCS and the International Wild Card pros.
Here's which pro players are coming from each region:
FYI the jungler would have been Bengi but there's a rule about not having more than two players from the same domestic league team on the All-Star. At the time Marin was still at SKT (he's gone to LGD Gaming now).
So there are sort of three members of Team SoloMid on this one BUT to clarify, Dyrus is now retired from pro play and at the time of setting this up Doublelift was still on Counter Logic Gaming so technically Bjergsen is the only one from TSM. Sort of. Meteos is here as a replacement for Hai because Cloud9 need to prepare for IEM Cologne.
Westdoor is attending in place of Toyz who declined due to personal reasons.
Froggen replaces xPeke who opted not to attend because he's knee-deep in running Origen as an organisation. KaSing is attending in place of Yellowstar because otherwise it would have meant three members of the 2015 Fnatic lineup on the team (although at this point Yellowstar is leaving the EU LCS for NA and Huni has joined Immortals).
I see. Should I know those names?
They're big names so if you follow the League of Legends pro scene at all it's likely a fair few will be familiar to you. If you don't, people like Faker, Marin and Dyrus are perhaps the most likely to have made it into the more general gaming consciousness. Faker is LoL's wunderkind, Marin put in a phenomenal performance at Worlds and, if memory serves, made MVP. Dyrus is one of the stalwarts of the NA scene and his emotional retirement interview was one of the big not-in-game moments of Worlds.
You can get a feel for some of the others by browsing the Worlds coverage I put up through October.
Can we talk about game modes now?
5v5: The superteams from various regions will go up against each other in 5v5 matches (so, regular competitive games).
Pick 10: This is where fans get to pick the entire lineup of heroes in a game and the pros just have to make it work.
Assassin Mode: Teams play a regular game but can ONLY use Assassin champions. It's a blind pick mode so you'll likely see duplicate champions across the two teams and perhaps some mirror matchup shenanigans. Teams are further limited by item restrictions – you can only buy boots, potions and things from the AP/AD tree. NO TANKY ITEM NONSENSE ALLOWED.
Marksmen Mode: The same idea as Assassin Mode, and with the same item restrictions, but the champion pool is restricted to only Marksmen.
One For All Mode: Each team plays five of the same champion. The teams get to pick what the champion is but yep, five of them will be hitting the map. God, I wish League of Legends had a Meepo character for times like this. HELLO TWENTY FIVE JERKS.
Sidenote: Did I tell you I once had a dream that Meepo used to live at my house and forgot to redirect his mail when he moved out so I kept getting letters addressed to Barry Meepo.
All-Star All-Stars: Fans vote for a subset of players from the Fire and Ice lineups and they will form a kind of BEST OF THE BEST thing, or at least a FAN FAVOURITES FOR EACH ROLE WITHIN FAN FAVOURITES WITHIN EACH ROLE thing. No more than three players from each region per team.
Tandem Mode: Each champ is controlled by two players, one on mouse, one on keyboard. I prefer to call it "Pantomime horse mode". The roster for this is basically everyone who didn't make it into the All-Star All-Stars lineup.
1v1: This one gets played on the Howling Abyss map. It's the one you might recognise from the game's tutorial – one lane in the form of an icy bridge, no jungle. The winner is the person who gets first blood, 100 cs (that's creep score which translates as minion kills) or destroys a turret first.
With all of this going on how do you know whether Fire or Ice has won the whole thing?
Each of the modes is worth different points, as are the final placings in the 1v1 competition. Those points added together gives you a final score for each team. Point listings plus a bit more information on the matches can be found here.
And what is it that they're playing for?
One reward is region-wide. The three winning regions on the winning team will get an IP boost at the start of the 2016 season. IP are Influence Points and are the currency you earn by playing games of League of Legends. You can use that stuff to unlock champions, buy runes or pick up extra rune pages. The other reward is a little trophy for each of the winning pro players.
Where can I watch this?
It'll be streaming via the usual services – Twitch, YouTube, Azubu… so you can pick a favourite from the All-Star page. It starts at 5pm PT which is 1am GMT on 10 December and continues til 13 December.
Doing that time conversion has made me realise why I'm so tired and why I think it is permanently breakfast. I'm going to find coffee.
*Well, it's more "getting angry about the definition of a greengrocer and that I couldn't seem to find the Santa Monica Museum of Art" but I'm sure the hype will be along in a moment